Sainsbury's discusses the future of farming with African suppliers

Sainsbury's is holding a series of talks with its African and Fairtrade producers in Nairobi this week to encourage closer relationships with its supply chain in the developing world and to discuss the global future of food and farming.

The talks are the second time Sainsbury's has brought such a large number of producers together in Africa, who collectively supply over £300 million of fresh produce for the supermarket every year.

The 'Fit for the Future' conference will explore some of the key social, environmental and economic issues facing the supply chain, such as balancing future supply and demand sustainably, bio diversity and crop and water availability.

The conference will include a business update from key Sainsbury's Directors, including Group Commercial Director, Mike Coupe, and Judith Batchelar, Director of Sainsbury's Brand. 300 suppliers, growers, NGOs and representatives from government in Africa are expected to attend.

The conference is aiming to identify what producers in developing countries see as the key issues facing the industry in the future.

Judith Batchelar, Director of Sainsbury's Brand, says: "Africa is really important to Sainsbury's and our customers, not only because we are the biggest Fairtrade retailer but also because we source a wide variety of products from this vast continent. These events have helped to bring us closer to our African growers and suppliers, and we in turn have given them a greater understanding of the UK grocery market."

During Fairtrade Fortnight in February 2011, Sainsbury's also hosted a panel discussion in the UK looking at the future of Fairtrade and support of trade in developing countries and how the supermarket can better educate and inform customers. 

According to the Fairtrade Foundation in the UK, Sainsbury's is the world's biggest retailer of Fairtrade products, with sales over £276 million in 2010. This equates to one in every four pounds spent on Fairtrade in the UK being spent at Sainsbury's. This makes a positive long-term difference to farmers, growers and local communities in developing countries across the world.

Sourcing with integrity is central to Sainsbury's ability to deliver great products at fair prices. It is committed to offering products that are better for customers and for the environment, in away that is also better for the animals, farmers and producers involved in their production.

Source: Sainsbury’s Plc.